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Friday, September 30, 2016
C of E Synod to discuss marriage, Anglican/Methodist relations
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 Marriage, urban strategy, regionalisation, Israel/Palestine and Anglican/Methodist relations, will be major features of the forthcoming Anglican Synod agenda from 5-9 July. A debate on the review of aspects marriage law will provide an opportunity for the Synod to respond to the government's White Paper on the review of the civil registration system and will focus on the new opportunities for the church presented by the proposals. The Synod will also debate the House of Bishops' report on marriage in church after divorce, following on from the Winchester Report two years ago, subsequent discussion in the dioceses, and further legal advice. It builds on earlier church reports in accepting that there are circumstances in which a divorced person may be married in church during the lifetime of a former partner, and recommends a pastoral approach within the civil law provision under which clergy have the right to decide whether or not to conduct such marriages. The present report sets out nationally applicable advice under which such further marriages could take place. This should make the church's position clearer to couples than the current piecemeal approach that varies between dioceses. A report from the Urban Bishops Panel will outline the challenges and opportunities facing the church in urban communities. The debate will focus on ministry and mission in these areas and the development of a national Urban Resource Unit. An associated report considers plans for the continuation of the Church Urban Fund from 2002 to 2010. The Synod will also include the first of a series of debates on constitutional issues, parliamentary democracy and the development of the European Union. The publication of the government's White Paper on regionalisation will provide an opportunity for Synod to consider ways in which the churches are contributing to the social, economic and spiritual life of the regional institutions in England. The debate will also enable supporters and critics of the government's proposals to express their views. A debate on Israel/Palestine aims to reflect on the continuing tragedy, consider the underlying causes of the conflict, and discuss ways in which dioceses can renew and strengthen links with the church in Israel/Palestine. The Synod will consider initiatives including the Alexandria Declaration, a major inter-faith venture in which the Church of England was closely involved. The Synod will also debate whether to enter into the Anglican-Methodist Covenant in summer 2003.
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